Canada: Educating consumers about water conservation

Canada's freshwater supply is at risk. In many parts of the country water is being used faster than nature can renew it. Unilever Canada's Go Blue campaign encourages Canadians to cut their water consumption by 50%.

Go BlueHow to save water

Canadians need to stop their wasteful water habits. That's the message from Go Blue, which encourages Canadians to conserve water in their homes and gardens. The campaign uses national TV, newspapers, magazines, billboards, the internet and in-store advertising to educate consumers about steps they can take to conserve water in their daily lives.

The campaign is supported by a website introducing consumers to the issues surrounding Canada's fresh water supply. It contains information and advice on saving water in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry and garden. Consumers can access a unique water footprint calculator that allows them to measure how much water they use in each room.

Water saving tips include:

  • Cut the amount of time you spend in the shower

  • Fix leaky taps and turn off taps while washing and brushing teeth

  • Only use the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full

  • Install water saving devices and water efficient showers, washing machines and dishwashers

  • Install a rain barrel in the garden

  • Make sure water sprinklers only water the lawn, not the pavement or driveways.

Challenging public perceptions

Research shows that many Canadians are not aware of how much water they use and why they need to conserve water. More than half (52%) think, in general, they are doing enough to conserve fresh water, and 80% are confident that Canada has a long-term supply of fresh water. In reality, water shortages are increasing in Canada because of dry summers, population growth and over-consumption. The research was commissioned by Unilever, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian branch of the UN's Water for Life initiative.

"We want to help Canadians become more mindful of water as a precious resource, and motivate them to reduce their water use," said Sharon MacLeod, Marketing Director, Unilever Canada.

Go Blue partnership

Go Blue is the result of a partnership between Unilever and Canadian water experts, including academics and NGOs. They provide the facts and expertise around this complex issue, write articles for the website and check the accuracy of the marketing materials. Unilever uses its marketing expertise to get the campaign's message to consumers.

Also in Canada - supporting the natural environment

Through the Go Blue Stewardship Grant Program, Unilever, in partnership with Evergreen (an environmental NGO), supports projects that aim to preserve Canadian rivers, lakes and wetlands. Since the programme was launched in 2003, Unilever and Evergreen have donated Canadian $366,000 to 72 organisations across Canada.

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